Most of the fans here spent time watching the NFL Combine last weekend, eyeballing potential prospects while dreaming of their perfect 2012 Bengal's draft. The running back position has sparked some fan interest, ok, has been the source of a ton of fan interest and speculation this off-season. Talking off-season Bengal's football in 2012, there is a shortlist of subjects which keep turning up, running backs being among those hot Bengals topics.
Franchise Tags and Free Agency are the next big off-season events, even during the combine week there have been a few developments to come out about potential free agent running backs.
The Cleveland Browns now have their stud LB D'Qwell Jackson under contract which allows the Browns to use the franchise tag on Hillis. However, the Cleveland Browns appear to have ruled out franchising Peyton Hillis and will attempt to resign Hillis before the start of free agency. If Hillis is allowed to test free agency waters, potentially signing with another team, that would leave the Browns hunting for another running back in free agency or the draft. During the draft what happens at pick #4 if RG3 has been drafted by another team? Could the Browns trade down, take the best player available, or target a running back with one of their 1st round picks?
The Baltimore Ravens have the running back of their now and of their future in Ray Rice. The Ravens do not plan on risking Ray Rice to free agency. Rice will either have a contract or be franchised before the start of free agency. The Ravens hope to work the Rice contract situation out sooner than free agency, which will allow them time to get Grubbs under contract before free agency.
The Bears already said last month, they will franchise Matt Forte if it comes down to the wire on getting a contract done before the start of free agency. Forte has already stated he will report to camp even if franchised in 2012. This past week both sides repeated those statements and got back to working on his contract for 2012. Forte will be a bear in 2012.
What rumblings have the Bengals been making this past week you're wondering? Gruden stated Cincy will be using a running back by committee approach in 2012 unless they land a workhorse back like Trent Richardson.
It's not a bad way to go. Keep guys fresh. They play longer, they're involved. If something happens to one, you know you've got a guy that can come in there and be productive. Where you're not relying heavily on one guy and if something happens to him, you’re like, 'Oh God, this guy doesn't have many reps.' I think it's important to have guys touch the ball, I believe, as a committee, but if you do get a big-time guy like Trent (Richardson) then I'm not opposed to giving him the ball 30 times.